England won by 16 runs
England and Sri Lanka traded blows in a genuinely fascinating ODI before the home side eventually emerged on top to take the series. The resulting wild party at 51allout Towers led to everyone forgetting to write the review. A bowl of petunias was also broken after falling some distance to the ground.
Normally this is a reasonably easy award to hand out but in this case not so much. This could be because we can’t remember the game (possibly due to excessive gin consumption) or it could be because it was a game that saw significant contributions from a number of players. In the end Jonathan Trott’s 72 from just 87 balls swung it his way. Following a great start, the loss of three wickets for ten runs left England in a somewhat precarious position. Trott and Eoin Morgan rebuilt, crucially without letting the run rate drop. It should have set England up to go past 300 until Suraj Randiv spun through the middle order.
Again, plenty of options here but we’ll give this award to the very final delivery. Jade Dernbach, having come in for some criticism throughout the series, gave Lasith Malinga a taste of his own medicine with a perfect inswinging yorker that cleaned up the Sri Lankan’s stumps. Dernbach briefly appealed before the penny dropped and the wild celebrations began.
We’ll have a full series review coming up in the next day or two but we should probably finish by mentioning the fantastic atmosphere at Old Trafford. For a half built ground (with a work in progress square) and some severe issues with access to be given such a key fixture raised a few eyebrows. In the end it proved the perfect setting for an ODI that finally delivered what the series had been missing: a close finish. The game swung back and forth throughout the day, gripping every single member of a full house. Not a sentence that we use often enough when talking about ODI cricket, sadly.